Impact testing is a destructive mechanical testing method that measures a sample’s ability to resist high-rate loading or absorb the energy of a dynamic impact.

Impact tests, such as Charpy and Izod, measure the total amount of energy that a material is able to absorb during a standardized impact event. This impact event involves the use of a test apparatus consisting of a pendulum type arm with an impact hammer attached to the end. This pendulum is dropped from a known height and, when contact is made with the test sample, the energy absorption is measured through the use of precise instrumentation.

Understanding a material’s energy absorption properties is critical, as it predicts how much plastic deformation the material will be able to withstand before catastrophic failure. This energy absorption is directly related to the brittleness of the material. Brittle materials, such as ceramics or glass, tend to have lower absorption rates than ductile materials like copper or aluminum. 

Temperature also has a significant effect on the material’s toughness, so it is common to perform impact testing at reduced temperatures, sometimes as low as -425F. In addition, by plotting impact energy as a function of temperature, a “Ductile to Brittle Transition” curve can be generated for appropriate materials, such as carbon steel.

Element scientists subject materials and products to dynamic impact, measuring cushioning, g-forces, and impact failure mechanisms. Our laboratories will support your quality testing program with accurate testing and reliable turnaround.

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Impact Testing Methods

Element's scope of impact testing capabilities covers a wide range of materials and applications, allowing us to support clients across many industries.

Charpy Impact Testing

The Charpy impact test was developed by S.B. Russell and Georges Charpy at the turn of the 20th century, and remains the most popular method for conducting impact testing on metallic materials. Although less common, the test can also be performed on plastics and polymers.A Charpy test specimen is typically a 55 x 10 x 10mm (2.165" x 0.394" x 0.394") bar with either a V- or U-shaped notch machined into one of the faces. This notch helps to concentrate the impact stress and encourage brittle fracture.

Commonly performed test standards for metals include ASTM E23, ISO 148, or EN 10045-1. Plastic test methods, while less common, include ASTM D6110 and ISO 179.

Izod Impact Testing

The Izod impact test was named for English engineer Edwin Gilbert Izod, who first described the test method in 1903. As the most popular impact test method for plastics, Izod impact shares a number of similarities with the Charpy method, however, notable differences include specimen geometry and orientation.

Test specimens for Izod impact are typically a 64 x 12.7 x 3.2 mm bar with a machined V-shaped notch. Common Izod impact test methods include ASTM D256 and ISO 180. 

Read more about the difference between Charpy and Izod Impact Testing.

Other Methods Offered:
  • Brittleness Temperature of Plastics by Impact per ASTM D746
  • Compression after Impact per ASTM D7136/ASTM D7137
  • Customized Drop Weight Impact Testing
  • Double Notched Charpy Impact Testing per ISO 11542-2
  • Environmental Impact Testing (Hail, Wind, Flying Debris, etc.)
  • Falling Dart Impact Testing per ASTM D5628
  • Gardner Impact Testing per ASTM D2794 and ASTM D5420
  • High Speed Puncture Multiaxial Impact (Dynatup Impact) per ASTM D3763
  • Impact Resistance of Organic Coatings per ASTM D2794
  • Tensile Impact Testing per ASTM D1822
charpy impact test services

Standards We Test To

American National Standards Institute


ASTM International

ASTM A327, ASTM A370, ASTM A673, ASTM D256, ASTM D2164, ASTM D2794, ASTM D3763, ASTM D5420, ASTM D5628, ASTM E 23, ASTM E1007, ASTM E1803, ASTM E1886, ASTM E1996, ASTM F 588, ASTM F 842, ASTM F1776

Deutsches Institut Fur Normung

E.V.DIN 50115


EN 875

International Organization for Standardization

ISO 83, ISO 140, ISO 148-1

International Safe Transit Association


Japanese Industrial Standard

JIS B1051, JIS B7722, JIS Z2242

Military specification

MIL-S- 901D, MIL-STD- 202F (Method 205), MIL-STD-202G (Method 207B)

Nederlands Normalisatie Instituut 

NEN-EN 875

SAE International

SAE J400, SAE J1402

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